OneBodyOneFaith welcomes new Pastoral Principles from CofE

OneBodyOneFaith welcomes new Pastoral Principles from CofE

On Thursday afternoon, General Synod received an update on the work of the Living in Love and Faith project and Pastoral Advisory Group.  The paper on which the presentation was based can be found here.

The Pastoral Advisory Group members read a ‘living letter’ to Synod, explaining the approach they have taken in drawing up some Pastoral Principles, which have subsequently been agreed unanimously by the House of Bishops. The Principles identify Six Pervading Evils which ‘hinder the quality of our relatinships’:  Prejudice, Silence, Ignorance, Fear, Hypocrisy and Power.  The Group suggests ways of addressing each of these and challenges the whole church to work towards ways of engaging within one another which name and tackle these evils.  A pack of resources is available here.

Peter and Tracey, along with a number of OneBodyOneFaith members on Synod, were present and warmly welcomed these Principles as a positive step in the right direction, moving beyond the trading of Bible verses and tribalism which has too often characterised the debate within the church.  Following on from the hurtful questions raised in the opening session of Synod on Wednesday afternoon, the Group is clear in stating that these evils are no longer to be tolerated.  

Members of the Living in Love and Faith co-ordinating and thematic groups also presented more of their work, and their plans for the future.  Questions were addressed by group members from across a wide range of perspectives, including Giles Goddard, Susannah Cornwall and the bishops of London and Coventry.  The Bishop of Coventry thanked the retiring Christina Beardsley and in response to a question from Rachel Mann,was pleased to announce that Alex Clare Young has accepted the invitation of the Archbishops to join the Co-ordinating group.  You can find out more about Alex on his website here.

Whilst recognising the range of views within the LGBTQ+ communities around the Living in Love and Faith process, we are cautiously encouraged by the learning outcomes, planned resoruces and general approach which has been taken by Eeva and her team.  We are delighted that a number of our members have taken up the opportunity to contribute to the ‘real life stories’ which lie at the heart of the process, whilst equally recognising the reasons why others have felt unable to do so.

We will continue to engage both positively and critically with this process, continuing, as we said to the bishops in 2017, to work with them, but not wait for them.